What is an interview?

You’ve seen a job that you’re interested in and you’ve sent in your CV or application form. Once the person recruiting for this role has seen your application, they may invite you for an interview. 

Interviews are usually formal meetings with the hiring manager, to find out more about you and to assess whether you really have the skills and experience you included on your CV or application. They will also be working out if you could be a good fit for the business e.g. would you fit into the existing team.

Don’t forget, an interview will also help you find out if it is a company or place you want to work.

Depending on the role and hiring organisation’s procedures, you may have more than one interview for a role and with more than one person at a time. Interviews can take place by phone, video call or face-to-face. 


How to prepare for an interview

It’s important to prepare for an interview. It will help you feel more confident and give your interviewer a good impression. Here are some tips:

  1. Do your research
    Find out what you can about the company. Check out their website to find out more about the business (most websites will have an About us section). Also, read about the products and services they offer and who their customers are. You can also do some research to find out who their main competitors are, what products or services they deliver and highlight any differences/similarities between the two organisations.
    You may also know someone who works there – ask them about their experience of working for the company.

  2. Review the job description
    Re-read the job description. Think about how your skills and experience fit the role and match what the company is looking for. Write down some examples ready for your interview. You might not have every skill they are looking for but make sure you have their key ones covered. Don’t forget about your transferable skills.
  3. Think about what questions you might be asked
    Write down your qualities and experience and practice talking about them. Practise speaking about them over and over so it starts to feel natural. This will help build your confidence ahead of your interview.

  4. Manage your nerves
    It’s natural to feel nervous, especially under pressure and in new situations. Get ready to manage those nerves and practice techniques in advance like taking deep breaths to calm yourself and techniques to help you feel more positive. Try these tips to cope with nerves.

    Remember, you were offered an interview, so the company is already interested in your skills and experience – this is your chance to show them off!

  5. Have your own questions ready
    Most interviewers will ask if you have questions that you would like to ask them. This usually comes towards the end of the interview. Interviewers like to be asked questions. You can ask questions about the role, the team or about what it’s like to work for that company. For example, how would you describe a typical day/week in this role, how do you measure success, what training is available or what are the most positive things about working there?

  6. Phone interviews
    Make sure you are in a quiet place with a good signal and that your phone is charged! Speak clearly and not too fast. Did you know that you can hear a smile? Smiling throughout your call will make you sound more relaxed and positive.

  7. Video interviews
    Your interview could be online rather than face-to-face. Dress and prepare like you would for a meeting in person. Make sure you are in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Make sure you have a good internet connection and that your device is charged. It’s a good idea to test the sound so that you can hear them and they can hear you.

  8. Face-to-face interviews
    Check your travel arrangements. Do you know where your interview is and how to get there? Leave plenty of time in case there are any delays to your journey. Dress appropriately – first impressions go a long way. Take any relevant information with you like the details of the person you are meeting, a copy of your CV, the job description, the questions you have prepared and anything else you may have been asked to bring with you such as proof of identity, qualifications etc. Manage the nerves and when you arrive, smile and greet everyone positively.

    It’s also important to look the part, first impressions open doors. If money is a bit tight, you can hire a full interview outfit for free from H&M or Suited for Success, helping you to boost your confidence and make a great first impression.

  9. At the end of the interview
    Sometimes it is hard to tell how an interview went. Even if you don’t feel it went well, thank the interviewer for their time. Ask them about the next steps and when you should expect to hear back from them.

  10. After the interview
    Follow up the interview with an email or telephone call. It shows that you are genuinely interested in the role and company. In the email, refer to the role and thank your interviewer for their time. Also, invite them to ask you any additional questions they might now have. End the email by saying that you are looking forward to hearing from them.

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